Dodge to Give Away 25 Hellcats and Revive Direct Connection with "Never Lift" Campaign

10 min read

Dodge to Give Away 25 Hellcats and Revive Direct Connection with "Never Lift" Campaign

10 min read

It’s been seven years since Dodge unleashed the Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat twins upon the world, and in the time since, supercharged Hemi power has made its way into everything from the Durango SUV to sister brand vehicles like the Ram 1500 TRX and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. One could make a compelling argument that the original Hellcats almost single-handedly democratized big horsepower, forcing automakers both domestic and foreign to up their game in turn.

Although Dodge has done a great job of keeping the Challenger, Charger, and Durango fresh with year-over-year updates, widebody packages, and special editions, Mopar enthusiasts have been wondering what’s next for Stellantis’ muscle car brand. After a notable period of near-silence on the subject, the automaker has finally provided some answers.

Earlier this month, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis took a moment to formally preview the company’s road map for the next two years. Dubbed the "Never Lift" plan, the campaign promises major announcements every quarter for the next twenty four months, along with several new initiatives that will be of particular interest to Mopar performance enthusiasts.

“Some of these will be minor, but there will also be a few that are game changers,” Kuniskis explained. “So you’ll have to follow along to find out what each one is as we move forward toward our next generation of muscle cars. Today is the first step in re-defining the future of American muscle. That future isn’t something that’s measured in kilowatts, or even horsepower. It’s not about gas or batteries. What fuels our run to tomorrow is attitude. It’s the belief that we can always push harder, run faster, and over-deliver.”

Kuniskis shared some information about several of the first initiatives in the Never Lift plan when the campaign was announced, while details on others have come forth since. Here we’ll take a closer look at what Dodge has revealed so far.

Operation 25//8

Dodge Never Lift advent calendar

The Never Lift road map provides some clues as to what’s coming as well as an overview of what’s been announced.

While the name of this program is a play on the "24 hours a day, seven days a week" idiom, the stakes in this initiative are no joke. Between now and the end of 2021, Dodge will enlist the support of luminaries from the worlds of sports, music, and automotive world to help give away 25 Hellcats to enthusiasts.

The exact vehicle specs will be determined by the winners of the contest. You can enter the drawing here by answering a few questions and then heading over to Dodge’s vehicle configuration page to build the Challenger, Charger, or Durango of your dreams. Once you’ve put the finishing touches on it, just drop the build URL into the contest page and you’re done.

“To recognize the Dodge spirit – the belief that 24 hours a day, seven days a week simply isn’t enough effort – Operation 25//8 will enlist a team of 25 people and companies that are all superstars in their fields, including Travis Barker, Jay Leno, Cain Velasquez, Supercar Blondie, and Draft Kings, to give away 25 Dodge dream cars during the last eight weeks of 2021,” Kuniskis explained. “Operation 25//8 adds 20,000 horsepower to the Brotherhood of Muscle and is the first step in building awareness for our two-year transition plan to redefine the future of American muscle.”

Amazon is running a similar contest of their own as well. Members of the e-commerce site can automatically enter to win a 2022 Challenger SRT Hellcat just by going to the contest page.

Direct Connection

Dodge Challenger "DC 170" development vehicle

Code-named DC 170, the Direct Connection Dodge Challenger SRT development vehicle demonstrates what a Direct Connection customer can achieve and helps engineers validate parts, kits and crate engines.

Kuniskis also unveiled the return of Direct Connection during the Never Lift announcement. Originally introduced in 1974, Direct Connection offered factory upgrades for Plymouth, Chrysler, and Dodge vehicles in much the same way Mopar Performance has done in more recent years. Now the Direct Connection performance parts brand will once again be the exclusive source for Dodge’s factory-backed performance parts and technical information.

“Dodge is a pure performance brand, and the reintroduction of Direct Connection will empower members of the brotherhood looking for increased performance without violating emission requirements or the factory warranty,” Kuniskis said.

Also of note is the fact that the new Dodge Power Brokers dealership network will serve as the exclusive source for new Direct Connection performance parts. These elite dealerships with be staffed with employees that are “trained to deliver a performance-focused customer service experience.”

Direct Connection will launch with a full line of factory-tuned parts, including exclusive new Direct Connection “Tuner” and “Stage” kits that will allow Dodge owners to install factory-tuned, 50-state-legal stage kit calibrations. These calibration tuning kits come as a result of a partnership between Dodge and Diablosport, and the Direct Connection Stage II kit is said to unlock nearly 100 additional horsepower. A Stage III kit is currently under development and will provide even bigger gains.

Additional Direct Connection performance kits will be available to upgrade the engine, suspension, and driveline of current-era Dodge Challengers. Provided that the work is performed by a Dodge Power Brokers dealer, the installation of these components will not affect the factory warranty.

More information about the new performance parts brand – and how you can get your hands on this factory-backed hardware – is expected before the end of the year.

Challenger and Charger Jailbreak Models

2022 Dodge Jailbreak models

The 2022 SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak models unlock color-combination ordering restrictions and add new factory-custom options to allow customers to build their own “one-of-one” vehicles. Buyers can also choose specifications created by the Dodge Product Design Office, like the “Old School” Challenger Jailbreak and “Brass Funky” Charger Jailbreak seen here.

To provide would-be buyers of 2022 Challenger and Charger Hellcat Redeye Widebodies with more freedom to mix and match features on their vehicles, Dodge is introducing new Jailbreak models. The Jailbreak models bypass color-combination ordering restrictions and add new factory-custom choices in order to give buyers more personalization options when speccing their new vehicles.

“Roughly half of all Dodge customers modify their vehicles,” Kuniskis pointed out. “For those looking for increased performance, we will launch Direct Connection next month. But for those looking for a unique appearance, we are going to let customers run free through the styling archives. We're taking most of the parts and pieces we've used over the years, adding a few new ones and letting customers build their own "one of one". So, if you're dreaming about owning a Stinger Yellow Challenger with Brass Monkey wheels, Hammerhead Grey seats, blue Brembos and red badges, I'm not sure we should...but we'll build it for you.”

SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak models also score a unique badge on the instrument panel and receive an output bump to 807 horsepower thanks to a revised powertrain calibration. Personalization paths run through seven wheel options, six exterior stripe and brake caliper color offerings, five varieties of seats and exterior badging finishes, and four options of steering wheels, seat belt colors, and floor mats.

In addition to unlocking those previously restricted color combinations, Jailbreak models can also be outfitted with exclusive content options as well. For the Challenger Jailbreak those include the following:

• Hammerhead Grey Laguna leather seats

• Hammerhead Grey floor mat accents

• Hammerhead Grey, sepia and Demonic Red seat belts

• Leather steering wheel and Alcantara steering wheel options, with white SRT logo

• Copper Weaver carbon fiber bezel finish

• Decklid stripe and Widebody side stripe

• Brass Monkey, Satin Chrome and red exterior badging finish

• Chrome fuel door finish

• Blue and yellow brake calipers

• 20-by-11-inch Warp Speed Satin Carbon and lightweight Low Gloss Granite wheels

The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak models can be equipped with their own roster of exclusive options as well:

• Hammerhead Grey Laguna leather seats

• Hammerhead Grey floor mat accents

• Hammerhead Grey, Sepia and Demonic Red seat belts

• Leather steering wheel and Alcantara steering wheel options, with white SRT logo

• Hood, roof and decklid vinyl stripes

• Brass Monkey, Satin Chrome and red exterior badging finish

• Black Nickel exhaust tip finish

• Blue and yellow brake calipers

• 20-by-11-inch Warp Speed Satin Carbon and lightweight Low Gloss Granite wheels

Those who are having trouble deciding between all of the available options can instead opt for an order combination created by the Dodge Product Design Office. The Old School Challenger Jailbreak model, for instance, features an F8 Green exterior dressed up with 20-by-11-inch Warp Speed Satin Carbon wheels; Satin Chrome Hellcat grille, fender and decklid badging; Gunmetal Grey brake calipers; a Chrome fuel door; Hammerhead Grey floor mat accents and seat belts; Dark Engine Turned aluminum bezels; leather steering wheel with a white SRT logo and a twill headliner.

Meanwhile, the Brass Funky Charger Jailbreak combines a Hellraisin exterior with sepia Laguna leather seats, sepia floor mat accents, carbon fiber bezels, suede headliner and an Alcantara steering wheel with a white SRT logo on the interior. The exterior also includes 20-by-11-inch Brass Monkey wheels; Brass Monkey Hellcat grille, fender and decklid badging; orange brake calipers; carbon dual stripes and black exhaust tips.

Additional recommended order combinations include Red Dawn, The Classic, and Yin Yang among others. Dodge says that the Jailbreak option package will be available for customer orders through dealerships late in the fourth quarter of 2021 and carries a price tag of $995.

Chief Donut Maker

Dodge Chief Donut Maker

It should probably go without saying, but whoever is lucky enough to become the Chief Donut Maker had better know how to fry tires.

Perhaps the biggest headline to come from the Never Lift road map is the introduction of the Chief Donut Maker position at Dodge. The company is currently on the hunt for someone who “embodies the spirit of the founding Dodge brothers.” It’s an ambassador role of sorts, and the job comes with some pretty nice perks.

Along with the $150,000 salary it commands, the gig includes a Hellcat to drive, a personal wardrobe, and a business card that carries the title “Chief Donut Maker.”

“The Dodge brothers were scrappy go-getters,” Kuniskis said. “Never content to follow the trends, they were the seekers of a better, faster, more outrageous way of doing things. And we’re looking to hire someone just like them.”

Dodge will provide more details of the Chief Donut Maker program on Jan. 12, 2022.

In the meantime you can head over to Dodge Garage to check out the Never Lift calendar, which provides additional details on all of the initiatives that have been announced to date and teases what’s to come.

2021 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT


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